A Busy Day in Yemen: Killing & Kidnapping

Yesterday in the Yemeni Capital of Sana’a, a security officer of the German Embassy was murdered & a member of UNICEF was kidnapped. This has some potentially notable ramifications for the security environment in – for Yemen standards that is – considering that a foreigner was actually killed.

For most of modern Yemeni history – and particularly the last 1-2 years since the revolution – kidnappings targeted foreigners that were journalists & NGO workers & killings targeted Yemeni government officials. The UNICEF kidnapping is not too surprising, though it being the second one in the last month after quite a lull does show an increase of OPTEMPO of these tactics.

The really disturbing issue is that of the killing. Now if it was an abduction gone bad then that could fit into the normal paradigm of Yemeni kidnapping. However, if it was a straight up targeted killing then things have perhaps gone to a whole new level. Historically foreigners were not targeted for killing. My take is that the kidnapping was probably a typical tribal kidnapping (at least I hope so) and the murder was an Al Qaeda effort. If AQAP has begin to target foreigners for killing then things may have reached a notable new level. We will unfortunately have to wait and see if this develops into a pattern or not.

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